Liquigas sprang a surprise on the Giro today, beating Sky into second place in the Team Time Trial to take the maglia rosa for their man Vincenzo Nibali.
In the 33km stage from Savigliano to Cuneo, Astana were 38 seconds off the pace, as visibly angry Vinkourov appeared to be trying to drop his exhausted team-mates in the final kilometre in a bid to keep the pink jersey for himself.
Every team suffered from bad weather during the stage, but Sky perhaps got hit by the worst. They might blame that, and an early puncture for Chris Sutton, for being beaten into second place when they were so desperate to claw back some pride, after the crashes of recent days have all but assured that they won’t place highly in the GC. David Millar, too, must be disappointed with a poor performance from Garmin-Transitions when this morning he seemed to have a shot at the top spot.
Although they were expected to put in a decent effort, Liquigas’s sterling performance means they now have the top three places in theÂ General Classification. Valerio Agnoli is third, 20 seconds down and Ivan Basso is second, 13 seconds back.
Having bested all-comers in the Team Time Trial, and survived the mishaps of the first three stages relatively unscathed, Ivan Basso must now be considered a serious threat to the GC.
Liquigas – Doimo Â Â Â Â Â Â 36’37”
Team Sky Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â +13″
Team HTC – Columbia Â Â + 21″
Team Katusha Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â + 27″
Astana Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â + 38″
CervÃ©lo Test Team Â Â Â Â Â Â + 38″
Omega Pharma – Lotto Â + 46
Garmin – Transitions Â Â Â + 49
General l Classification:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ)
2. Ivan Basso (LIQ)
3. Valerio Agnoli (LIQ)
4. Andre Griepel (HTC)
5. Matt Goss (HTC)
6. Alexandre Vinokourov (AST)
7. Vladimir Karpets (KAT)
8. David Millar (GAR)